Chester Medical Solutions has rounded off a £2m year-long investment programme with the installation of a new six-colour B2 Komori GL29 with coater.
The pharmaceutical contract packer and packaging manufacturer said it is the first packaging specialist in the UK to have taken the machine.
The machine was installed at the end of March in Chester’s 5,600sqm Deeside, Wales site, but was only commissioned in the last few weeks. It made up just more than half of the £2m investment, with the rest being spent nine months ago on a Bobst Novacut 106 die-cutter, a Bobst Expertfold A110 folder-gluer, a custom-made machine for digitally printing Braille onto cartons and several smaller pieces of finishing kit.
Chester managing director David Patterson said that with the Komori plus the Bobst kit, the outfit essentially had a brand new packaging line. The GL29 is being treated as an addition to Chester’s roster of kit but may eventually replace its older Lithrone L28.
Patterson said: “The press is a significant technological advance for the market, and we see the main benefits it will deliver being in terms of quality, security and flexibility. The pharmaceutical world is moving towards shorter runs, more changeovers and greater complexity so for us the most important thing is having a machine that can deliver short and predictable changeovers and high quality print as soon as possible into the run.
“I think one of the things you have to be aware of is that it’s not just changing a piece of equipment, it’s a cultural thing. We already have a culture of a business used to being flexible, dealing with complexity and many changeovers, so the rest is being installed in an environment where we know we will get the best out of it."
Patterson also highlighted the machine’s PQA-S V5 vision system that reads text on sheets to pick up any missing or defective pieces of text. Running at a maximum printing speed of 16,500sph, the UV GL29 has a one-touch system for sheet thickness changeovers, taking a maximum size of 530x750mm.
Patterson said Chester felt the Komori “bridged the gap between digital and litho very well”, enabling the company to offer the right technology to each client depending on their specific requirements.
“It’s a major investment, which we believe helps to secure our standing in the pharmaceutical sector by addressing our customers’ current and future needs."
Along with its Deeside printing site, 140-staff Chester has its headquarters and pharmaceutical contract packing operations in Bromborough, Merseyside.